Sunday, November 29, 2009

Joining the Conspiracy

In my sermon this morning, I talked about the fact that Advent is primarily a time of preparation, of clearing our minds, hearts, and lives to receive Jesus afresh. At the end, I invited people to join the Advent Conspiracy, an effort to counter the frantic consumerism that is rampant this time of year with four simple concepts: Worship Fully. Spend Less. Give more. Love all. Check it out:

I'm also going to use Advent to get into the discipline of praying at least one of the Daily Offices (Morning, Noonday, or Evening Prayer) per day--especially since my prayer life has suffered in this time of transition. You're invited, too!

Oh, and if you want a really good organization to support with your "Give more," here are two:

Episcopal Relief and Development

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Kingdom of God is like....

Today at St. Edward's we celebrated Christ the King Sunday--a celebration of the Kingship of Christ and, by extension, the Kingdom of God. While the lessons appointed for the day, especially the Gospel lesson, are predictably focused on Christ's identity as a king whose kingdom "is not of this world," they got me to thinking about what we think about and picture when we think about the Kingdom of God. While driving home from a funeral yesterday, I happened to hear the following song on K-LOVE, a Christian radio station:

What you need to know is that the little girl he is referring to is his youngest daughter, who last year at 5 years old was tragically killed in an accident. I was particularly stuck by his image of heaven:
But in my mind’s eye I can see a place
Where Your glory fills every empty space.
All the cancer is gone,
Every mouth is fed,
And there’s no one left in the orphans’ bed.
Every lonely heart finds their one true love,
And there’s no more goodbye,
And no more not enough,
And there’s no more enemy. No more.
Today was also our Stewardship Ingathering Sunday where we collect the pledges from members for 2010. As I talked about in my sermon, what greater purpose can there be than to be ambassadors, representatives, of that sort of Kingdom? What a privilege to invest our time, our talents, and our treasure in partnership with God to whom we pray "your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven."

Let us go in peace to love and serve the Lord.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Provoking and Encouraging

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:24-25)
This text is set in the larger context of the writer to the Hebrews' answer to the question: "What should we do as we wait for Jesus' return?" In the context of today's readings, I find this to be very good advice. As human beings, our natural tendency, when confronted with danger or stress, is towards fight (the attack, or more often one another) or flight (fleeing the situation, closing in on ourselves, etc...). This passage of scripture gives us a third option: faith.

The author of this letter (we don't know who that person is) lays out the faithful response of Christians to difficulties--provoke one another toward love and good deeds, meet together, encourage one another. In other words, point out how God is active in the world and how we can partner with God in that action, show up for church, small groups, etc... to support one another, and encourage one another through these difficult times.

Sounds like a plan!

Coming Attractions

On Sunday, November 29, we will have a Service of Lessons and Hymns and Holy Eucharist, Rite II. All are invited to come, sing, and be with us for the First Sunday of Advent.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Stewardship and St. Edward's

There is a quote about stewardship that says "Stewardship is everything you do after you say 'I believe...'". This morning, we launched our Fall Pledge Campaign at St. Edward's. There were a few things different about this effort from others in which I've been involved. First, I've been at St. Edward's less than a month--this was my fourth Sunday here. Second, as most of you who will be reading this know, St. Edward's is a congregation in the midst of restoration. We've been focusing on the part of Praise my Soul the King of Heaven that identifies us as "ransomed, healed, restored, [and] forgiven" people. It is when we know ourselves to be blessed by God--to be ransomed by Christ's death and resurrection, healed by Christ's power, restored to right relationship with God in Christ and each other, and forgiven for those things we have done or left undone--that we are freed to enter afresh into a partnership with God in, to use the language of the prayer book, "restoring all things to unity with God and each other in Christ."

St. Edward's has been on a remarkable journey in many, many ways. Those who have chosen to remain here and thus remain in the Episcopal Church have sacrificed much through their gifts of time, talent, and treasure to keep St. Edward's the vibrant, lively community that it is. We certainly have our faults, and our fair share of interesting personalities (mine included!), but we are in the process of re-discovering what it is to be beloved Children of God. In that process, we are spending this month, as well as the seasons of Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany, focusing on the benedictine value of stability--not changing things for change's sake, establishing a firm liturgical, spiritual, and even financial foundation, and preparing ourselves to look at each other and out into the world with God's eyes, seeing where God is working, and joining in that work.

If you are reading this and are not already a part of St. Edward's, I invite you to come and be a part of this period of (re-) discovery. If you are part of St. Edward's, you will have many opportunities to see God at work in the world and join in that work. The first of those chances is the Pledge Packet that was given out at worship this morning and will be mailed out tomorrow to those who did not pick their packet up. Please take it, put it in a prominent place, and commit to thinking, praying, and talking with your family about your commitments of time, talent, and treasure to St. Edward's in 2010. Unlike a PBS-style pledge drive, we won't be asking for a specific amount or be giving out thank-you gifts for different levels of support. What we will be doing is using the collective pledge of all of our members to begin to discern God's vision and mission for St. Edward's in 2010 and beyond. May God bless and guide us in this effort.

Monday, November 2, 2009


Welcome to the weblog, or blog, of St. Edward's Episcopal Church in San Jose, California. In addition to our web site (which is in the process of being updated), this is the place to keep up with everything related to happenings at St. Edward's. From Vestry meetings, to special services and events, to simple upcoming items of interest--you will find them here. So, check back often, comment as you wish, and come visit us on Sundays at 9 a.m!